Dealing with Arson and
False Fire Calls
- Do not pile rubbish and trash
next to the home or next to a building wall; when lit, this
will also ignite the building; trash piles are the major
source of fire by arson.
- Keep cellar windows closed and
locked; if an arsonist is at work, he could throw a lit
torch into the basement and, if it ignites anything there,
start a fire.
- Keep garage doors, back
entranceways, alleyway entrances and yard gates closed and
locked; most arsonists are looking for fast ways to get into
an area to throw a torch. Fences with locked gates are a
good way to protect a home or other buildings.
- Watch vacant homes and
structures; they are favorite targets of the arsonist.
Report to police anyone seen lurking inside or outside the
- Report to City Hall (and
insist on action by the city, or preferably, the property
owner or tenant) on any piles of trash and debris in the
neighborhood or vacant structures which can be entered by
someone. These are favorite ignition points for
"set" fires. Trash piles, dumping of trash and
allowing unoccupied structures to exist are not only
eyesores, they are fire and safety hazards as well as health
problems (and a bad place for children to play).
- Remember the description (or
name and address) of any children playing with sparklers or
other fire torches; sparklers have been an arsonists' tool
many times along with the barn-burner matches.
- Teach children that false fire
alarms are illegal, a danger to everyone on the street and
to the firemen answering the call and could take away
firemen and fire vehicles from a real fire somewhere else;
these are not exciting pranks . . . these are real dangers.
- Remember: protecting the
arsonist or person giving false fire alarms is protecting
someone who is a clear and present danger to your
neighborhood and your personal safety. It is not a childish
prank. It kills and injures people, burns up homes, destroys
peoples' lives and belongings, forces many to move and
deteriorates the neighborhood. It must be stopped and the
best way is for people with information-to come forward and
report it to police, be willing to be interviewed by the
police or the fire marshal and willing, if necessary, to
testify about what you know.
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Copyright 2000 Sen. Vincent J. Fumo